Thursday, May 06, 2010

The Life of a Poor Writer

Someone complained to my work that they think I'm earning money by charging people to talk about gardening. Ha! I wish.

On my Web site, I do have a page for visits. On it, it outlines the programs I offer FOR KIDS and then says they can contact me for rates and/or custom programing. Well, I think I should make it clear that I have never made money for talking about gardening.

I offer kids gardening programs around Milwaukee, but I volunteer my time for this. And currently, while I'm promoting my book, I do visits with places in exchange for them to promote my book.

So the point is, I am not rolling in the writer dough. My picture book won't make hardly any money unless Oprah or Ellen pick it up. And I'm just hoping that I'm not a one-shot-wonder who never has another book again.

I'm not sure what crazy person has so much time on their hands that they're looking at my Web site and then complaining about my side gig that barely brings in any money. They should find themselves a hobby.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Back on the Horse

Why is it that it takes forever to get fit and toned but takes no time to lose it? I ran a little bit while we were in California, but other than that, I haven't run in a pretty long time. I've been doing some walking over my lunch hours at work, but not much "real" working out. And I haven't been to the Y in a while either. And then Steve has been gone this week, which makes it hard for working out. And excuses, excuses, excuses.

I've only been lax a couple of weeks, but man, I'm feeling all lethargic and FAT all the sudden. Now I realize it would be near impossible to get fat in two weeks, but I think it's time to get back into the workout routine. It's funny how working out totally changes the way I feel.

Tomorrow I'm going for a run. That should get things off on the right foot.

And how fitting that the title of this is "Back on the Horse" because that's where we're going tomorrow. Robin and Kathy have graciously said we can come and visit the chickens and horses tomorrow, so we're excited! Anna loves chickens. She might have a farm one day.

Saturday, April 17, 2010


I went to a children's writing luncheon today where we listened to an editor from a big NYC publishing house talk about the business. It made me realize a few things...

1. I'll never be one of those "amazing" transformative kind of writers that can write about a cup of water and make it sounds exciting. Nor do I desire to be, actually.
2. I'm more of an "ideas" person. A "hey wouldn't this be cool" sorta thing. But I'd like other people to actually carry it out. Hmm, maybe that's the editor in me. (Seriously, though. I have a GREAT idea for a young adult book, but I'll never write it. So if you need a topic, let me know.)
3. The publishing world is super tough. I need an agent. They hold all the power. (Just to put kids writing into perspective, I've been doing it for about 7 years and have one book to my name. And today at that luncheon, I bet there were more than 100 writers in the room. And that's Wisconsin alone.)
4. I'm still going to create. But I'll be highly selective of what I write about. These days, something has to be totally extraordinary and amazing to stand out. Some story about a kid learning to ride his bike or whatnot is not really cutting edge or interesting. So it's all about the cool and interesting.
5. I really hope this gardening trend stays popular, and that I can sell another garden concept or two before others jump on the bandwagon.

It is fun to create, though. And since Jack calls me an author and this makes him highly proud of me, I'm going to enjoy my moment as much as I can this summer when my book comes out!

Friday, April 16, 2010

A Matter of Perspective

Sometimes we as humans tend to focus on the we don't have, the jeans that don't fit anymore, the stresses of work, etc. I fall into this path all too often. And at the risk of sounding enlightened, I'm starting to realize just how silly and annoying this really is. Recently, we've heard about a lot of tragedy around us.
  • Our amazing family doctor has a brain tumor. (He's also the father of four young girls.)
  • My sister-in-law's cousin just lost her husband and is left with six kids on her own.
  • A very young friend of ours is dealing with a cancer scare, though they are saying it's highly curable.
  • A 5-year-old little girl was just hit and killed about 1/2 a mile from where I work in this cute and quiet little downtown area. She was just walking in a crosswalk and the car wasn't even going that fast.
  • Another friend of ours is about to lose his grandma because of a stroke.
So in the grand scheme of things, the little annoyances of everyday life doesn't really compare. While I doubt I'll be able to swear off negative thoughts altogether, I am going to try to make a conscience effort to be more positive. Work isn't worth stressing about. And life in general has too many good things in it to focus on the negative all the time.

So here's to being positive. And focusing on things that really matter. It's all a matter of perspective, right?

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Thinking Positive

Stresses at work and annoying PTA moms have really been grinding on my nerves lately. So in attempt to relax, I'm trying to get back to my family blog a little bit and focus on the things that really matter.

I'm going to California in just over 10 days, so that should be some good, relaxing time. And I'm trying to gear up to promote my book soon, so that should keep me busy, too.

So yes, all these things to de-stress me and just enjoy life. The next post on here should be all about the cuteness of Jack and Anna.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Talking and Drinking, Do Not Attempt Together

I was at a bachelorette thing this weekend. It didn't get super wild or anything, but there was drinking going on. I was the designated driver, so it was just crazy Coca-Cola for me, but others were having fun.

There's something about people when then drink...especially women. The stories just don't really make sense. Women are talkers anyway. And when women drink, they will start these long stories, and soon, it's like they're about to share a revelation or something. And then, they are suddenly at the end of the story, and the people who haven't been drinking realize the end has come and gone. And there was no revelation at all.

Yes, women and drinking are interesting.

Monday, September 07, 2009

Card Contest

I can't believe it's been almost 6 months since my last post. I blame Facebook.

Anyway, I have a very special reason to come back to the blog. I need a vote! You see, there's this cool Hallmark contest that I think is just genius. I decided to enter it, so this past weekend, I was taking photos for their current category of "Birthday His Way." I tried to think of good photos that would work for a guy birthday card, so I came up with these.

Please vote on your favorite. And if you have any good ideas of messages to go with, let me know. (I think winners only get like $250, so I'll take you to lunch or something if you have a great idea to help me out.) Or take your own photo and send it to me. I love creative contests like this.

Something about how "We will turn the lights off just for your b-day" (Idea courtesy of Vicki)

Something about "Take your pick. It's your day."

Something fishing related...

I don't have a message for this one, but I think it's just funny. I wanted to say "If the early bird gets the worm, then what does the old guy get." But Steve said that wasn't funny at all.

Something about just relaxing; I just like the lighting in this shot.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Crying at the Dentist

I cried at the dentist today. Yep, I'm a crier. I went in for a routine check-up and the hygienist informed me that one of my tooth had fractures and it would eventually need a crown. "Hasn't anyone told you this?" she asked sweetly.


I should mention that I hate, hate, hate dentists with a passion. When we were little, we got in trouble when we had cavities. (Not bad trouble, but we didn't have superb health care coverage, so it was really expensive and disappointing.)

Since we've lived in Wisconsin, I've had three different dentist because I can't find one I like. I cried at my last dentist office, too. So anyway, they tell me I'll have to have a crown. Then afterward, they show me what the co-pay will be. Let's just say that it's a lot. I started holding back tears right then and there. The very nice receptionist asked me if I'd like to schedule the appointments, and I had to tell her no because I needed some time to adjust. Poor girl called me an hour later because she had misread how much the co-pay would be and wanted to let me know right away. (It's still damn expensive, though.)

So I left the dentist office, fighting the tears. And then I abruptly called Steve and sobbed. Then I called my mom and sobbed some more. I feel like such a failure. I realize I'm being a little extreme, but it's really hard for me to accept I have to have a crown. I know things could be worse, but I'm so bummed.

Oh, woe is me. I hope this is the last dental work I have to get done in a while. I'm a great brusher, but I'll be flossing every day now. And I'm even throwing out my old toothpaste and using the extra fluoride toothpaste they've been trying to get me to use for a year now. Hopefully this will help so I don't have to still be crying at the dentist in my 30s.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Random Musings from the Tornio household

It's been a while since I've posted, so here are just a collection of random things.

1. Jack is really big into drawing and writing lately. He's almost always sitting with paper, and then yelling out to me, asking how to spell things. He always wants to spell raccoon, horse, cute dog and bendaroos.

2. We're in early talks of planning a Disney trip next January. All Anna wants to do is have dinner with Cinderella in the castle. In fact, the other day we were driving along and I asked her if she wanted to stop and get something to eat with me. "No Mom! I want to eat with Cinderella!" Jeez.

3. I had the mole on my temple removed the other day. I was at my derm's office, and she was looking at it. About a minute later, it was gone. I kid you not. I was shocked at how fast it went.

4. Dixie, our cat, was trying to catch a mouse this morning. She caught it three times and then let it go so she could catch it again and bat at it. It's currently on the loose. Grrr.

5. I was promoted this week to the editor of my magazine. I feel like the luckiest girl in the world to be promoted, yet I still get to report to my same amazing boss.

6. On a whim, I signed Montana up to work in Alaska, and then they actually called. Now I really want him to work there, so I can go and visit.

7. Jack informed us today that it's finally March and his birthday is in a matter of days. Meanwhile, I was considering making a Spiderman cake but ended up ordering one instead. We're going to the waterpark in the Dells to honor his and his cousin, Alex's, b-days, but we're still going to do the cake and presents thing next Saturday on the actual day. He's ecstatic.

8. Anna recently found her long-lost mermaid baby that she's been attached to since she was a baby. When it went missing, we bought her a another mermaid baby off of Ebay. Now she thinks it's magical that she has two.

9. Steve has been a real trooper lately. He's not a big fan of the kids and their crazy parents crowd. But he went to a school carnival, took Jack to basketball and ever volunteered to go swimming with the kids. He's a keeper.

10. Summer seems to be filling up already! I guess we're just dreaming of nicer days ahead because we already have several weekends planned. And my mom is going to fly up here to help me drive to Oklahoma at the end of the July. I'm really looking forward to having a road trip with my mom because we'll have time to leisurely drive down and check out silly tourism things along the way.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Disney on Ice

We went to Disney on Ice last Thursday night, and it was a blast. Annabelle was mesmerized. The show was a little under 2 hours, including an intermission and both kids paid attention the entire time. Of course, it probably helped that we had FRONT ROW tickets. I bought the tickets ages ago when they were first on pre-sale. We were in the front row on the edge where a lot of the skaters went on and off the ice. So very cool and so very worth it.

During intermission, Annabelle said to us, "Where did those costumes go?" Yep. She didn't ask where did Mickey Mouse go or where did the princesses go. She wanted to know where the costumes went. Then later as we were leaving, she told us again how much she liked the costumes. So darn cute.

On another note, I've been telling Anna a lot of stories lately, which she adores. I started doing this with Jack when he was around 2. The story always involves her as the main character, and lately she always wants to hear the story about Anna with the little tiny pony that fits in her hand. The look on her face is so blissfully happy as she listens to me. Such small pleasures.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Snow Headaches

Jack has informed me that the snow gives him headaches. And tummy aches. And as long as the snow stays around, he's going to keep getting headaches. (He's ready for it to be warm so he can go outside a lot again.)

I understand. It's one thing when it's pretty and snowing. But now it's just piled up all ugly.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Stealing by Accident

I stole a princess dance outfit from a store today. We'll call the store "Farget" just for anonymity. I didn't do it on purpose. I swear.

With Anna in dance class, we thought we'd get her another tutu outfit to wear. She fell in love with a blue princess one, and she held it tightly the whole time in the store. When we get out to the car, I lift Anna out of the basket and see that she had been sitting on the dance outfit, so we didn't pay for it. By this time, everything is loaded and Jack is in the van and buckled. And, it's also about 2° outside.

I'm just about to load the kids up back into the basket when I remember I was going to return a lamp I bought from Farget that didn't work. I did a quick calculation; the dance outfit was roughly the cost of the lamp, so I figured it was a wash.

On the drive home, I was still feeling pretty guilty about the whole thing. I was even making plans in my head to go back and pay for the outfit. But then I remembered that I went to Farget last week and purchased a dowel rod. However, the check-out girl must have put it separately or something because we did not get home with it. Yet, I was still charged for it!

So now I don't feel guilty anymore. In fact, I figure Farget owes me.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Sick Day/Vacation Day

Anna is "sick" today. Notice the use of quotations? There's a good reason for them.

This morning, Anna woke up and said she was wet because she threw up on herself. Sure enough, there were huge chunks of gross stuff all in her hair and bed. I got her all cleaned up and by this time, she got the notion of staying home sick. I could tell she felt fine, though (and no fever or anything), so I tried to convince her to go to school.

"There is still throw-up in my tummy. I need to stay home," Anna said.

She wouldn't eat (but was prancing around in her princess shoes). I figured I'd better be safe than sorry. At our daycare, if a child throws up or has a fever, they have to be out for 24 hours. So if I would have taken her in and then she threw up, then I'd have to take off two days.

By this time, Jack is pretty mad. He tries to tell me that he has a pretty nasty cough and that he needs to stay home sick, too. I told him no, and it pretty much broke his little heart. So I decided it was time to "make a deal" with him. You know...bribe him so he doesn't cry and get all upset. Anyway, it took some doing, but here's what we came up with:

5 grab bags (from the dollar store, only $1 each!)
Pancakes for dinner
$1 for his savings box
Tae Kwon Do class tonight

Am I a pushover or what? Oh well. I took a vacation day and have been running errands and getting stuff done. All in all, a productive day.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Winter Classes

Jack and Anna are finally at the age where they can both take classes at the Y by themselves. This is a huge milestone for me because up until now, I've done a lot of swimming classes with them. Don't get me wrong, I like swimming. But the whole ordeal gets tiring with changing and then getting in the water and then changing again.

So now Jack is taking Tae Kwon Do and basketball (a last-minute sign-up on a whim). And Anna is very ecstatic about a little girl dance class.

I don't want to be one of those families with crazy schedules who have something every night of the week. But this is sure going to help us get through winter. Plus, we figured out that it's cheaper to become members of the Y, rather than to pay community rates for individual classes.

So this weekend was the first session. I went with Jack to basketball, and he was VERY timid at first. He is my cautious boy who is very self-conscious, so he didn't want to do the dribbling drills at all. He finally warmed up, though, and had a blast. Afterward, we got him a $5 basketball at the store and he's been practicing his dribbling ALL weekend long in the house.

I didn't go to Anna's class, but Steve said she loves it. Imagine 8 to 10 little 3 and 4-year-olds, all decked out in little dance shoes and tutus. It doesn't get much cuter than that. Hopefully we'll have pictures soon.

Friday, January 09, 2009

The Blog About Snow

As I type this, I know I'm going to have critics. People around here hate winter and the snow. Believe me, they start talking about hating it as soon as the first snowfall. I get's cold and wet and icky and dirty. And I've definitely had my fair share of complaining about it. In fact, every year on the first very very cold day, I usually call Steve and complain to him about bringing me to this nasty cold state. (Actually, I usually say worse things than that, but I'm keeping this blog PG.)

But the thing is, there are some really cool things about living in a place where it snows. Today we got home and there was about 5 inches of snow in the driveway. The kids were in complete and utter excitement as they put on their snowpants and boots. And then while I snowblowed the driveway, they had an absolute blast.

It was pretty, too. The wind wasn't blowing. It wasn't that cold. And the sky was completely clear and crisp. It was a beautiful scene.

I'll be sick of snow next week, I'm sure. And definitely by March when it's still snowing. But sometimes it's just fun and pretty.